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Panasonic 1000 Calculator

Updated 7/21/2019

This stylish little machine is one of the sleekest-looking machines in the museum, with its futuristic styling common to Panasonic's early electronic calculators. In fact, the machine was granted a 1971 "Good Design" award in Japan, recognizing the machine both as stylish, easy to use, and well-built. As with most Panasonic calculators, there's a common model number listed on the machine, in this case, "Panasonic 1000" listed on the front panel of the calculator, and an internal model number listed on the serial number tag, JE-102U. The reason why Panasonic had two model numbers for their calculators isn't entirely clear. One likely possibility was that the marketing department didn't think that the internal model number was very marketable, and insisted on a more consumer-friendly model number for them to sell the calculators by, with the internal model number used for factory and service reference. This machine was marketed in the domestic Japanese market as the "National 1000", as Matsushita Electric's original brand name was "National", registered in Japan in 1925. Panasonic became commonly known as Matsushita Electric's trade name in America in the mid-1960's. The name Panasonic was originally coined as "PanaSonic", a trade name that was used to market speakers exported by Matsushita Electric beginning in the mid-1950's.

This calculator bears a striking resemblance in one way to some Commodore calculators of a little later vintage, at least in terms of the keycaps. Take a look at the Commodore US*14 exhibit, and you'll note that there are some major similarities. In fact, Panasonic was one of Commodore's OEM customers, whereby Panasonic made calculators to Commodore's specifications (cabinet colors, keycap colors and nomenclature), with Commodore marketing and selling the calculator as its own.

Panasonic 1000 Display

The Panasonic 1000 is a ten-digit, four function machine, with keyboard-selectable constant for multiplication and division. It operates in fixed decimal mode, with a slide switch on the keyboard panel that selects 0, 2, 3, 4, or 6 digits behind the decimal point. The display uses ten individual Futaba DG-10S vacuum-fluorescent display tubes. These same tubes are used in another calculator in the museum, the Commodore C112.

Futaba DG-10S Display Tube

Each of the display tubes uses a ten-segment rendition, allowing for a centered '1', and for the '4' to have a 'tail' (see display photo above). Each tube also has a 'tick' at the top left of each digit (which isn't used in this application), and a right-hand decimal point. At the right end of the display panel, a single neon indicator behind a red plastic jewel in the shape of a '-' lights to indcate that the number in the display is negative. The circuitry of the calculator provides for the suppression of leading and trailing zeroes. The keyboard uses magnet-activated reed switches, giving the keyboard a nice quality feel, and also makes for reliable keyboard action even after all these years.

Panasonic 1000 Internals

Most all of the circuitry of this machine is on the main circuit board. Six early Large Scale IC's made by Mitsubishi make up most of the brains of the machine. The chips are mounted in sockets that are situated behind the module that makes up the display subsystem.

The Calculator Chipset

The chipset consists of parts numbered MA8131, MA8132, MA8133, MA8134, MA8135, and MA8136. Another LSI chip is mounted (without a socket) on the keyboard circuit board, again a Mitsubishi part, with part number M58241. This chip likely scans and encodes the keyboard. The remaining components consist of discrete transistorized circuitry for driving the display, a couple of Small-Scale IC's, (Mitsubishi M58279) for miscellaneous functions, and a transistor-regulated power supply. The dating on the parts indicates that the machine was built sometime in latter part of 1971. It appears that the National 1000 (the Japanese-market version of this calculator) was introduced in August of 1971.

Closer View of one of the Mitsubishi LSI's

The display section of the machine consists of a plug-in module that allows for easy replacement. Another connector on the main board is for the keyboard to plug into. The machine is quite nicely designed for ease of service, with the main calculator chips all being socketed, and high-quality connectors for connecting the keyboard and display assemblies.

Close-up View of Panasonic 1000 Keyboard

The 1000 performs the standard four math functions. The [K] key, a push-on/push-off switch, enables or disables the constant function, which works for multiplication or division only. The [C] key clears everything, including the keyboard disable that occurs when an overflow or error condition is detected. The [CE] key clears the display, allowing for correction of erroneously entered numbers. The Panasonic 1000 is unusual in that it uses algebraic logic for entry, with a separate [=] key used to terminate an expression and calculate the result. Most calculators from this timeframe used arithmetic or RPN logic. A slider located below the display allows the positioning three chrome-look pointers which can be used to mark digits in groups of three for easier reading of large numbers.

Profile View of Panasonic 1000

The 1000 is not a terribly fast calculator, with the all-nines divided by 1 problem taking about 1/3 second. Overflow or division by zero causes the display to show all zeroes with all decimal points lit, and the keyboard to cease responding to input. Pressing the [C] key clears any error condition and returns the calculator to normal operation. While calculations are occurring the display is not blanked, allowing the user to watch the digits as the the calculation occurs.

Text and images Copyright ©1997-2023, Rick Bensene.

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